While the 1.0 petrol engine is a reasonably strong performer, it isn't as refined as we'd like; it's a bit raucous when you work it hard and sends too many vibrations through the soles of your feet. Put simply, 1.0-litre versions of the Golf and A3 are noticeably smoother and quieter.
The 1.5 petrol unit is more restrained, remaining quieter and smoother when you put your foot down, although it does begin to sound strained if you rev it really hard.
Unsurprisingly, the diesel is the nosiest of the bunch. Fire it up and it clatters a little at idle, while on the move engine noise grates while accelerating. Thankfully, at a cruise it manages to be far more hushed, but it’s still more vocal than its German oil-burning rivals.
Honda's six-speed manual gearbox is light and positive, although the brake pedal is a bit spongy.
Road and wind noise at motorway speeds is noticeable, too. There isn't enough to really annoy, but the rival Golf and Focus are considerably more peaceful cruisers.
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